5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To with guest Alt-J
5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening to is a collection of our newest favorite songs. And Every week we ask an artist that we love to tell us about the music they love.
Listen to the whole thing in the player below.
1. Alt-J picks “Womankind” by Viva Brother
Every week we start off by asking one artist that we love to tell us about a song that they love.
Today my guest is Alt-J from Leeds, England. They’ve had three albums, “An Awesome Wave”, “This Is All Yours”, and “Relaxer.” They’re one of the biggest bands in music right now. They’ve won Mercury prizes, Grammy nominations; you know who they are. Right now we’re playing their song, “Deadcrush.” I’m here with Gus Unger-Hamilton of Alt-J.
Justin Barney: Gus, what’s one song that you can’t stop listening to right now?
Gus Unger-Hamilton: There’s a song by a band who’s a friend of ours. They’re called Viva Brother, and they’re coming back after a six or seven year absence to release their long awaited, long lost second album.
They dropped a new song called “Womankind” recently which I’ve been listening to an awful lot. They’re really nice guys, and a really great band with huge amounts of energy, charisma and fun. I’m really pleased that they’re coming back together to put out this second album, have a laugh, and see what happens with it. I think it’s brilliant.
Justin Barney: That’s great. What do you like about their style?
Gus Unger-Hamilton: They’ve got a very sort of traditional Britishness to them. They come across as sort of arrogant but just cheeky, and they’re very smart. I think that’s what I like best about them. That combination of intelligence and a good amount of rock ‘n’ roll swagger as well.
Justin Barney: That sounds very British.
Gus Unger-Hamilton: Exactly.
Justin Barney: What does the song sound like?
Gus Unger-Hamilton: It sounds kind of like really good 90’s rock. That’s the best way I would describe it. High energy, cool 90’s rock. For me it’s just a song that I keep putting on, and it just makes me feel good. That’s the best kind of music I think.
- “Womankind” was released as a single earlier this year via Pretty Records.
- Listen if you like: sexy Brit-pop, Blur, Alt-J
2. John K. Sampson - “17th Street Treatment Center”
Last week I went to see Craig Finn at the Cactus Club on Sunday night. John K. Samson was opening, but I didn’t know that, I also didn’t know who he was. So I came maybe two or three songs into his set, which was just him with a guitar on stage. And as he was singing it sounded like a whole bunch of people in the crowd were singing. But I thought that couldn’t be right. I actually thought it must have been an effects pedal that he was using that somehow mimicked a crowd or something. But then the next song started and this crowd came in singing just under him, every word. And I looked around in the crowd of maybe 80 and sure enough, there were all these people singing every word.
And it gave me goosebumps. And this feeling in my stomach that I can’t really describe. This was the physical manifestation of all of all these people privately listening to these songs over and over and here we all were, crowded into a tiny room at the Cactus Club on a Sunday night, quietly singing every word under their breath.
Every once in a while, there would be a funny line in a song and the few of us that didn’t know the words would kinda chuckle along. This one of those songs that stuck out. And I’ve been singing, quietly under my breath since that show.
- “17th Street Treatment Center,” was released in October of 2016 via Anti.
- Listen if you like: The Weakerthans, Craig Finn, fantastic song writing
3. Matt Pond PA picks “tonite” by LCD Soundsystem
Matt Pond PA is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He’s been making music since 1998, his new album is “Still Summer” and we are playing the song off that album called, “Still Summer.”
Justin Barney: Matt, what is one song right now that you can’t stop listening to?
Matt Pond PA: I actually love the song, “Tonite” by LCD Soundsytem. Is that the right title?
Justin Barney: That is, and it is amazing.
Matt Pond PA: It’s just direct, and it’s thoughtful too. Just that there’s that kind of self-effacing poetry out there in music. I mean I just said the word “poetry” without gagging.
Justin Barney: Yeah there are bits that are a takedown of what’s happening now, and then he also looks at himself and says in the song, “I feel like my mom.”
Matt Pond PA: I love that, and I love that he says it’s all luck, or something about everything being luck. Which is kind of cool for a singer in a popular band to see that there is a degree of luck on all levels of doing anything like this. It’s just kind of like, “I was just there. It just happened.”
Justin Barney: Yeah. I’m so glad you picked that song that’s been the song that I can’t stop listening to as well.
Matt Pond PA: Awesome. To me it is so direct, and vast.
- “tonight” was released this year on LCD Soundsystem’s new album, “american dream.”
- Listen if you like: classic LCD Soundsystem groves, Father John Misty, Matt Pond PA
4. Tennis – “I Miss That Feeling”
Justin Barney: This is 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To,” and for the second week in a row I’m here with our intern Ty. Last week you picked a song from a Jake Gyllenhaal movie. I can only assume that last night you watched another Jake Gyllenhall movie and were inspired?
Tyler Danielson: Uh, I did not. I was cleaning my apartment last night and I started playing a song that forced me to stop cleaning my apartment, sit down and listen to it a bunch of times. I’ve been listening to it all day today too.
Justin Barney: What’s the song?
Tyler Danielson: “I Miss That Feeling” by Tennis.
Justin Barney: Oooh, yeah. Is that off the new album?
Tyler Danielson: Yeah.
Justin Barney: So, what do you like about this, Ty?
Tyler Danielson: Well, first, it reminds me of strawberry ice cream. And, umm…
Justin Barney: Wait, why is that first?
Tyler Danielson: I don’t know. I just see a dish of strawberry ice cream, like perfectly laid out like it’s an ad or something. But then there is something old sounding about it and something new about it. It just feels so natural.
Like, there is no way I believe that these guys sat down and, with purpose, wrote the song. It just had to come out of them. Because it’s so natural.
- “I Miss That Feeling” will be on Tennis’ upcoming EP, “We Can Die Happy.” Due out on November 10th via Mutually Detrimental.
- Listen if you like: listless vocals, nostalgia, strawberry ice cream
5. Ty Segall – “Alta”
For Ty Segall, if you don’t like one of his songs, or albums, just wait six months till the next one comes out. But, in all likeliness, you will like it. You know there is this notion that greatness takes time, but The Beatles released "The White Album," "Yellow Submarine," and "Abbey Road," in less than one year.
And it’s the Beatles that this song reminds me of. When the Beatles got weird there was this musical sensibility underneath it all. And Ty Segall has that sensibility under the weirdness in this song too.
- “Alta” was released as a single at the end of this September. No word on if it is part of a larger project.
- Listen if you like: The Beatles, Oh Sees, heavy guitars